Moyinoluwa Olutayo is a Nollywood actress, presenter, filmmaker, TV content developer and media consultant. In this interview with ANTOINE NLEBEMthe University of Ibadan graduate has opened up about how much she loved watching Nwankwo Kanu and Daniel Amokachi during their days with the Super Eagles, and how an injury ended her sporting career
Are you a big football fan?
Not really, I wouldn’t say that. I am not a football freak. The only time I do that is when I walk into a rally and everyone is watching football and I choose to join them, or maybe when Nigeria is playing a major game.
What is your opinion of male footballers earning more than their female counterparts?
First of all, I will say that the profession should not be considered from a gender perspective. What I mean by that is if you take any profession and put it on the table, the number of years it takes a man to study a course and get a degree is the same number of years it takes a woman to study the same course and graduate. Seen in this light, I don’t think there should be any discrimination based on gender in remuneration. There should be no discrimination as to what the woman or the man should earn.
What is your impression of the Falconets’ performance at the 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, where they crashed out in the Round of 16?
For the Falconets to win all three of their group stage matches, I want to applaud the team and not condemn them because we know the Nigerian factor. Have all of our players been exposed to everything needed to succeed in big tournaments?
Do you have a male or female footballer you are passionate about?
My interest in football was in the past when we had Nwankwo Kanu, Daniel Amokachi and others at that time. But at the moment, as I said earlier, I’m not a football maniac, I watch them when I see them playing.
Will you allow your children to pursue a career in football?
Firstly, all my children are grown now and none of them are in this line, but when it comes to knowing what one likes, I would like to share with the parent that it is the individual who get to live his life. So I don’t want to live their life. If a child comes and says he wants to be a footballer, my question to the child will be: is that where your passion lies? Beyond passion, do you have the capacity and capacity to do it? And if the answers are yes, I will support you, as long as it adds value to the child’s life. So if I have a child who wants to get into football or if I have a grandchild in the future who wants to be a footballer, that will be fantastic, as long as that is where your passion lies.
What sports did you play growing up?
I did a lot of sports at the time. I was a sprinter and was also good in the marathon, representing my school and the Lagos State government in competitions up to university level. Apart from that, I did a little tennis until I sprained my ankle which prevented me from playing. Right now the only time I exercise is when I go to the gym. I did shot put and long jump too. I also participated in the Nigerian University Games Association when I was at the University of Ibadan. It was while preparing for the NUGA Games in 1988 that I got injured and that automatically put an end to my sporting activities. Without this injury, I would have played sports full time.
How do you rate the performance of Nigerian female athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham?
Tobi Amusan’s world record and the brilliant performance of female athletes at the Commonwealth Games are the new joy we have as a nation. With all the sad news everywhere, news of their performance has lifted everyone’s mood for the past few months. They did very well.
What do you think of Nigerian female athletes who have outdone their male counterparts in recent world events?
I don’t want to downplay any gender, but the female gender is more determined and eager for success in their career before getting married. But for men, right from the start, they are under pressure to succeed. They have to deliver so many things at the same time. This is one of the things that distracts some male athletes. Although some male athletes are focused, many of them are distracted.
There is this rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Who do you think is the best player?
I can’t really say who is the better player between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the truth is that both players are very good and a pleasure to watch.
Who is your cutest athlete and why?
On a lighter note my husband.
Serena Williams recently announced her desire to quit tennis after an outstanding career. For you, is she the greatest black female athlete you have seen?
Serena has been incredibly successful in her career with many titles to her name. The 23-time Grand Slam honor makes her one of the great tennis players. But as a sportswoman, the retirement age will definitely set in, she is 41 years old and she is a mother. She is the best black tennis player, proven over the years. But I can’t say categorically that she’s the best black female athlete I’ve seen. Athletes have their own moment of dominance and new stars emerge as they leave the stage.
Do you think the Nigerian government has done enough to encourage its female athletes?
There is a gender problem in our society, the Nigerian government is not doing enough to motivate our female athletes, I will urge them to do more to encourage our female athletes. These athletes have brought fame and glory to the nation and must be motivated to encourage them to achieve more and also inspire future female athletes.
Who is your best Nigerian athlete?
Right now I’m thrilled with Tobi Amusan’s performance, she’s the World and Commonwealth Games record holder, and our current rave. She recently won the women’s 100m hurdles at the 2022 Diamond League Finals in Zurich and impressed so many Nigerians with her laurels.